Honeysuckle Gelato, co-owned by a University of Georgia alumnus, is now available at UGA’s Market at Tate and is expanding to open several more locations in the Southeast.
UGA Terry College of Business alumnus Wes Jones started the gelato business with partners Jackson Smith and Khatera Ballard in 2011.
“Despite being a Terry alum, I never thought that I would work in the business world,” said Jones, who previously served as a Teach for America Corps member and worked in real estate and the nonprofit sector after getting his Masters of Business Administration.
Smith spent time working in New York making gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato, and Jones and Smith would joke about starting their own company in Atlanta. After doing research, Smith and Jones found there was a gap in the Southeast market for gelato they could fill.
The gelato company serves egg-free, handmade gelato with less fat than ice cream in seasonal flavors “inspired by their Southern roots” meant to exemplify its stated mission to “be sweet,” including flavors such as Bourbon Pecan Praline, Brown Butter Crunch and Sea Salt Caramel, according to its website.
The brand, which started out in Ponce City Market in Atlanta, has since expanded to several grocer locations like UGA’s Market at Tate and to brick-and-mortar locations like Optimist Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I have so many great memories [at UGA], and I hope that our gelato can be part of creating wonderful memories for today’s UGA students,” said Jones.
More locations are scheduled to open in Fayetteville, Duluth and Cary, North Carolina.
According to its website, the brand donates 5% of companywide profits to Feeding America Network food banks and gave over $5,000 to Atlanta-area food banks during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to an Atlanta Community Food Banks annual report. Their website states that the brand has plans to partner with other organizations in new locations as it expands.
The company also works with Talking Dog, a student-run advertising and public relations agency at UGA, which provides them with a fresh perspective on public relations and video, photo, and analytic skills. This partnership also gives students the opportunity to work with brands in a variety of advertising and public relations positions.
Camryn Williams, a junior public relations major from Watkinsville and Honeysuckle’s public relations specialist through Talking Dog, has loved working with and learning from Honeysuckle’s own branding firm, Green Olive Media.
For Williams, the message of the brand and its dedication to positivity and generosity make working with the brand even better.
“I love their ideals and motives,” Williams said. “They have influence and they’re giving back.”